DiCicco DROPs Out; Is Grace New Frontrunner?
Councilman Frank DiCicco is out of the race for his First District Council seat. He made the announcement last night, citing his $424,646 “bad decision” to get into the Deferred Retirement Option Program three years ago. And now the First District election – with both DiCicco and now-Republican Mayoral candidate Karen Brown out – is getting interesting.
DiCicco says he conducted one of these internal polls – which, of course, concluded he would have won – but decided it would’ve been too tight and tough a race in the crowded field, especially considering his vulnerabilities with DROP. Just so you’re aware, though, he blames you, the voter for not understanding: “Had I known it would cause all this trouble and confusion, I never would have done it,” he said.
That leaves four serious candidates: Jeff Hornstein, Joe Grace, Vern Anastasio and Mark Squilla, the latter of whom DiCicco is now supporting. As of now, we know this much: Joe Grace publicly believes he, above all, is best inclined to win this thing. He put out a press release this morning saying as much: “After months of hard work, and with today’s retirement announcement from Councilman DiCicco, I’m poised to emerge as the frontrunner to win the primary election in May. Internal polling shows that I’ve earned the support of more voters than any other challenger in the race – by a wide margin.”
Once again, we’ve got a candidate citing an internal poll here. But we have no reason to doubt Grace. He’s clearly been the most out front thus far with a huge web presence and several City Hall press conferences – including one this afternoon in which his prepared statements included commending DiCicco for dropping out.
That being said, Grace has also got the most liabilities – one of which being his former job as communications director in the Street administration. The other being the question over whether he actually lives in his wife’s house out in Chestnut Hill, and not their First District Port Richmond residence. Several candidates have publicly and privately mentioned Grace’s double residence. Should his frontrunner status be cemented in the public mind, expect this to be brought up with growing frequency.